ISIS attack on Iraqi village kills at least 11 ‘defenceless civilians’ and wounds several others

At least 11 people died and several others were wounded in an ISIS attack on a village in Diyala province in eastern Iraq, the country’s security forces said.

The attack on Tuesday targeted “defenceless civilians” in the village of al-Hawasha, near the town of Muqdadiya, the Joint Operations Command said in a statement.

Police said the gunmen used several vehicles and semi-automatic guns in their attack.

AP news agency citing two officials saying that ISIL fighters had kidnapped two villagers earlier and then raided the village when their demands for ransom were not met. The dead and wounded were all civilians, they added.

Iraqi President Barham Salih denounced the attack as a “despicable attempt to destabilise” Iraq. He said the country needed to boost its security, address security gaps and “not underestimate the threat of ISIL”.

At its peak, ISIL controlled vast swaths of territory in Iraq and neighbouring Syria under its self-proclaimed “caliphate”.

Attacks targeting civilians have become rare in Iraq since ISIL was largely defeated in the country in 2017, although it remains active through sleeper cells in many areas.

A United Nations report published early this year estimated that about 10,000 ISIL fighters remained active across Iraq and Syria, and still conduct operations, often targeting security forces, power stations and other infrastructure.